Leading distributed teams to comprehensively improve revenue cycle performance

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In our article last week, we introduced readers to the concept of a distributed team, where your staff consists of a combination of remote, hybrid or onsite models. As you may recall, one of our clients, a major health system, decided that each revenue cycle team could work in different locations based on a revenue cycle teams member’s role or function. From an organizational team structure, here’s how they defined functional roles:

  • Patient Access: Onsite
  • Financial Counseling and Patient Financial Services: Hybrid
  • Health Information Management (HIM): Remote

When you are developing your team, however, researching and strategizing about their differing generational needs and professional preferences is paramount. For instance, according to Harvard Business Review, “64% of Gen Z and 63% of Millennials consider their office to be their laptop, headset, and wherever they can get a strong Internet connection, compared to only 48% of Gen X and 43% of Baby Boomers.” The commonality among the myriad of differences? The desire for balance and structure regardless of demographic preferences and contrasts.

While distributed team models offer the most flexibility, leading diversified teams often come with challenges of their own, such as how to approach recruiting differently or training staff efficiently and effectively. Fostering an environment that puts employee well-being, success, comradery, and effective training at the forefront can help your team be high performing, despite being at different locations. When you’re functioning like a team, your revenue cycle will start functioning better. To better lead your distributed team successfully, here are a few questions to ask yourself:


What workforce shortages in your organization are hampering success?

Workforce shortages have dominated the headlines as major roadblock with post-COVID migration, leaving many states with critical shortages. The disparities are evident, with California, Texas, South Caroline alone estimated to have a total shortfall of 50,000 nurses, while Florida alone will have a surplus of same estimated total nurses for the state.(1) So how do you combat this problem in the face of margin pressures and increased costs? It should be no surprise then, that in-house talent and contract resources that are seasoned, certified, and effective are in high demand. To address this problem, one of our clients created an internal taskforce to review potential states to recruit from quickly — and not lose them to the competition. Plus, they cast a wider net targeting job openings towards military communities and college-affiliated programs. They also frequently review and reevaluate policies and procedures that impact their ability to attract candidates. They aren’t shy about asking existing vendors to take on more or additional tasks to ease volumes.

Depending on the size of provide you work for, setting up and effectively managing internally may not be feasible due to cost increase, margin pressures, while trying to compete for top talent.  As a result, many health systems are turning to diversifying responsibilities to revenue cycle management solutions and services providers, like Currance. By leveraging a remote workforce for certain functions, research shows that employers can save $11,000 per employee when switching to remote work.(2)   Doing so allows for sourcing seasoned, certified talent expeditiously to fill gaps within your revenue cycle in a more cost-effective way, while enabling and evolving existing staff to work on higher-value-added efforts and roles. As your needs change, you get the flexibility to increase or decrease resources being allocated to specific efforts.

The takeaway: Do you consider it a talent pool or a talent ocean? Change your perspective and view the hiring and recruiting process with a greater depth.


How is your organization upskilling for cross-functional effectiveness and efficiency?

Your goal as a senior leader is to have your employees contribute more, without sacrificing great quality or their overall well-being for long-term retention. Part of how you can foster that long-view approach is by seeing your employees as people — with wants, needs, beliefs and desires—in addition to their professional responsibilities. Sometimes, this might seem challenging within professional discussion, especially if your team is working remotely. (For further guidance and inspiration, Forbes published an insightful article that explores 18 ways you can support your remote employees.) But with time and effort, it can be done.

Currance clients have also leveraged our workforce engagement behavioral and emotional intelligence assessments, to understand each team member to observe, explain, and predict behavior, to measure and calculate the various factors of behavior that measure an employee’s cognitive abilities. Knowing each employee’s strengths and weaknesses can help you adjust your management techniques and expectations because you’ll have a more innate understanding of a given team member’s perspective and best approach in maximizing effectiveness and efficiency.

As a leader, it’s also important to invest in yourself as well, leading by example and offering output to better your team. Attend leadership training, workshops, or webinars. Get a clear line of sight into why people want to leave with stay and exit interviews, implement best practice approaches to communication tactics (verbal and non-verbal), championing time management along with coaching/conflict resolution training.

Another thing to consider is connecting with an HR business partner to help you focus on the growth of your department in the face of workforce shortages and margin pressures. This person can serve as an extension of your team’s mission and values with a fresh perspective of bringing the best practices of the holistic employee lifecycle, through human resource management and training disciplines for your healthcare system. An effective HR business partner can help understand your team’s cultural needs, regional implications and figure out what areas of growth you want to cost-effectively focus on.

Look for an HR business partner who can provide a customizable approach to managing employees who are onsite, remote, hybrid, along with offshore resources. You also want to find someone who attends your mid-year and annual leadership events to sustain the desired patient experience and financial objectives across service, leadership and engagement of your department. 

 The takeaway: When you embrace each employee as a whole person, they’ll feel inspired to learn new skills, not be afraid to make mistakes and feel more connected to your organization’s mission and performance objectives.


How are your teams measuring their success?

 Anecdotes about how the team is doing are nice, but data and measurement paint a more accurate picture. In reality, employees covet and often demand transparency in knowing where they “stand” within the organization. Developing training/certifications and self-reporting performance options will help you be a more effective leader in supporting their aspirations, while simultaneously improving transparency and communication effectiveness throughout your team.

For example, Currance offers high-performing, seasoned and certified teams go through specific training and certifications, which we partner with our clients to offer to their teams:

  • Patient Access
  • Health Information Management (HIM)
  • Patient Financial Services (PFS)
  • HFMA certification
  • Ongoing upskilling modules and leadership engagement strategies

Besides training and certifications, there are also ways you can measure the success of your team — and how they can measure themselves. As an example, Currance offers self-reporting options through team scorecards as a means of daily performance measurement. Setting up one-on-one meetings cadences with your individual employees to talk about their goals and what they want out of their career and teams, while keeping communication at the forefront.

Giving accolades and acknowledgement to your team matters, too. We’ve seen our clients do “employee spotlights” where they give a shout-out to the employee over Facebook and LinkedIn, explaining who they are and why they’re so dedicated to the organization creates immense cultural value.

Offering internship programs is another way to recruit, train, and retain new talent. You could put your intern through a modified training program and have them spend time learning and shadowing staff, along with assigning projects. Partnering with four-year and community colleges is a good way to set up a fruitful internship pipeline for your organization.

The takeaway: If you’re creating a new program to recruit or retain staff, crunch the numbers to see what worked and what didn’t.


Ready to revenue cycle differently? That starts with Currance.

Contact sales@currance.com to learn more. 


(1) - https://www.registerednursing.org/articles/largest-nursing-shortages/

(2) - https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/remote-work-statistics/


Ready to revenue
cycle differently?

That starts with Currance.